Winter is Coming
In fact, winter is kinda here. Oh, sure the calendar may say it’s got a few weeks left, but for all us Cache Valley motorcycle enthusiasts, the part that matters is finished. It’s gotten cold. We’ve had our first snow – it didn’t stick around, but the next one probably will. The roads are going to get slippery and icy, which isn’t safe to drive on. If we bundle up tightly, we might get a little more time out of it, but not much. It’s time to put our motorcycles away for the winter.
Storing a motorcycle in the winter takes some steps, though. If you want it to be in good condition when you start in the spring, here’s what you have to do.
1. Top Off the Tank
The problem with gasoline is that it isn’t stable when it sits. When left over the winter, it can go bad, leaving gunk in your tank that’ll need to be cleaned out before you can ride it again. On the other hand, you can’t leave the tank empty, either. Do that and condensation could fill it with enough moisture to damage the engine and hurt its performance.
What you do instead is fill the tank up full before you put it away first. Then you add a fuel stabilizer. The stabilizer will keep the gas from deteriorating over the winter. Once you’ve put it in, turn the engine on and let it run for a few minutes so the treated fuel can cycle through.
2. Check Your Fluids
Just as an empty gas tank can let moisture in over the winter, your other fluids need to be refilled to protect it from condensation. Double check your fluids: brake, clutch, and coolant. Replace or refill them as necessary. Also remember to check the antifreeze to keep the engine from freezing up when it gets cold.
3. Check The Oil
Oil is an essential part of keeping your motorcycle running smoothly, but just like gas, it breaks down over time. It turns from a clean, golden liquid to a thick, black goo. This goo is full of contaminants that can corrode the engine parts and do serious damage over the course of a few months. Change the oil and filter plug before you store it.
4. Save Your Battery
Some motorcycles, especially new ones, will drain the charge off their battery even when the ignition is off. They do this to keep the clock set and maintain radio presets (if it has a radio). There are two things you can do to preserve your battery. First, you can remove the radio entirely and trickle charge it all winter. This is the most efficient way, because you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to store your motorcycle in one piece, then make sure the battery is fully charged before you put it in storage. Over the winter, you’ll have to charge the batter about once a month to keep it up.
5. Protect Your Tires
Flat tires suck, but that’s a common problem with motorcycles once you pull them out in the spring. The best way to avoid this is to store your bike with the tires off the ground. That way, the weight of the bike won’t put pressure on them and cause them to deflate. If you don’t have the proper storage for that, then you can still keep them in good condition. All you have to do is inflate the tires to their maximum before you put it in storage and then remember to rotate them once a week.
6. Wax It Up
The insides of your bike aren’t the only parts vulnerable to moisture. Any metal is susceptible to corrosion, including the exterior. A good way to prevent rust is to give it a good wash, dry it thoroughly, and then wax it. Then you should spray your exhaust pipes with WD-40. For some extra protection, stuff a clean towel into the intake and exhaust pipes to keep water and nesting pests out.
7. Keep It Out of the Sun
Sunlight will damage leather and fade paint. To prevent this, park your bike in the garage and away from the windows. To get the best results, put a fitted, breathable cover on it. The cover will protect it from the sunlight as well as dings and scratches, and keep dust, grime and moisture off.
You’re All Good
Once you’ve done all this, your motorcycle is good to go. You can give it a good kiss and tuck it into bed for the winter. Rest easy knowing your bike will be ready to go when spring comes around. If you need any help getting your bike ready to store for the winter, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Motorcycles are our specialty. We’d be happy to help you out. Check with us today and see when we can fit you in.